September 29, 2014
by Ariel Adams
After almost a year of wearing a Rolex Submariner 114060 watch, I’ve come to at least one conclusion – this is a darn tough timepiece to beat. To own a Rolex watch for many people is an aspiration. The power of the Swiss company is that it has created a demand for the name, in many ways, more so than the products they produce. People often come to me and say, “Ariel, I want a Rolex.” I usually respond with, “OK, what Rolex do you want?” The answer is, “I don’t know, that is why I need your help, I need you to help me choose one.” The message there is that Rolex is a company whose image in many ways is louder than its products. But at aBlogtoWatch, product is everything.
The good news is that when it comes to product, Rolex watches rarely let you down. If anyone asks me why Rolex is such a successful brand I often point out that “their products are actually really good.” Of course, Rolex doesn’t make every type of watch you want and isn’t the best at everything, but there is no denying that in addition to their enviable brand image, they made very good timepieces.
One of the ironies of Rolex is that the pieces most popular to watch lovers are not the pieces that Rolex sells the most of. Ask a “watch guy” what the best Rolex watch is and most of us will point to something in the “Oyster Professional” collection, such as a Submariner or GMT-Master (among others). Ask Rolex where most of their sales comes from, and they will tell you something completely different. From a business perspective, Rolex will share that Datejusts, especially women’s models with diamonds, are the most popular products in their collection.
So yes, watch lovers and “the general public” have different watch tastes. That is something I’ve known for a long time, and perhaps something that I will explore more in the future. Having said that, brands like Rolex, Omega, and TAG Heuer – that do not strictly survive on sales from watch lovers – nevertheless continue to offer a large assortment of watches that greatly appeal to us. And if there is one watch that I can think of that equally appeals to the watch lover and the general public, it is the famous Rolex Submariner.
Last year I wrote a review of the Rolex Submariner watch here. That review was actually for the Rolex Submariner ref. 114060 (the model in this article) as well as the ref. 116610. What is the difference between these two models? The date. The ref 116610 is technically known as the Submariner Date, but since it is the more popular of the two models, frequently it is just called the Submariner, while the ref. 114060 is referred to as the Submariner “No Date” (which, like I said, is not an official name).
Why does Rolex offer two versions? That is a good question, and it goes back to appealing to those who were fans of the original Rolex Submariner watches that began their life in the 1950s. The Submariner did not acquire a date window until later, and over history Rolex has produced models with both the date and without the date. The Rolex Submariner Date actually costs about $1,000 more, and what you get for that is a date complication and a magnifier lens as part of the sapphire crystal to help read the date better. Not everyone is a fan of the magnifier, and if you still want the date but dislike the magnifier a good choice for you might be the new Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 watch.
While the Rolex Submariner Date 116610 is an iconic and classic design, I happen to like the elegance of the perfectly symmetrical and more simple dial of the Rolex Submariner Ref. 114060. You know what? I also like that I don’t need to adjust the date. If the watch has been sitting for a while and isn’t wound, I like that setting it is faster and more simple given that you just need to set the time (and not deal with AM/PM). I don’t use the date on my watch all that much – even though I do appreciate the complication – and in this instance, I felt a degree of freedom to not have it in the Rolex Submariner.
Rolex watches are built with the precision of scientific instruments and they are among the few watches that you can inspect with a magnifying glass and still appreciate so many areas of perfection. Whether or not you are looking at the 18k white gold hands and hour markers (which are tarnish resistant), or the polishing on the steel case, Rolex does its best to imbue a product like this with a real sense of perfection.
At 40mm wide, The Rolex Submariner 114060 is among the smallest watches I wear. Having said that, it does wear large for its size, given the wide lugs. I would say that it wears much more like a 42mm wide watch. The on-wrist comfort is outstanding, but of course Rolex has had decades to perfect the design and the newest generation Submariner is at its best. The bracelet wraps nicely around your wrist, and best of all, the Glidelock system allows you to adjust the bracelet a few millimeters with ease. Wrists can expand naturally in different temperatures, etc… so being able to properly micro-adjust the watch at all times is a very welcome added feature.